Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

So 2014 has arrived and once again I have decided to try and be a little more active on this blog. Last year I wanted to get back to writing and I did...to an extent. I did more plotting, outlining and jotting down of notes than anything. This year I plan to be more productive. We'll see.

Last year was also the year I decided that I needed to read more. In years past (OK, more like decades past) I would read voraciously and devour several dozen book in a year. Alas, over the last 12 to 14 years, I seem to have read a lot less. I still buy books and my to-read-list is nearly a mile long, but I only managed to get through a dozen books a year. So in 2013 I tried to read more. As you can see from the list to the left and down some, I only finished 20 books. This year I hope to do much better.

Oddly enough, when looking back to see when it was my reading dropped off, I realize that it began around the time I got online. That darn internet can really suck up one's time, can't it?

I would like to get back to movie reviews for Shadow's B-Movie Graveyard, but right now that is secondary. For now the site is in archive mode. Also noet that whatever email I have listed on that site is no longer functioning, so if anyone has used it to reach me over the last two or three years, I never received any communication. Your best bet is this blog.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Something Stinks

We've been in this house about nine years now. When we bought it, the developer had obtained a large area for further construction, but our street was on the very edge of the group of finished homes. The developer didn't seem to be in any great hurry to fill in all that empty space and it seemed like it wasn't long before the housing market nose dived. So for the better part of five or six years, our street was on the very edge of a large vacant area - just paved streets and lots for later expansion. It was a great area to walk dogs and get away from the house for a bit. Slowly, over the last few years, houses have been built in this large area, gradually filling it in. Alas, it seems that somewhere in that time that it stood empty, a clan of skunks decided to homestead and when those pesky humans came along and started moving the dirt around with big machines, pouring concrete and slapping up pieces of wood, they got just a wee bit...upset. About three times a week, the pungent aroma of skunk is wafting through the neighborhood and there is nothing subtle about it. I walked outside the other night to throw something in the garbage and the smell hit me like a brick wall. I hope the construction crews and the skunks can come to an agreement quite soon, cuz my nose just cannot take many more nights of the skunkpocalyspe.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Private Practice

So I actually started writing again tonight. Not on any specific project, but just as an exercise. I picked a scene out of thin air: two people in a fantasy world returning to town after something major has happened. What had happened? I had no idea, but the pair - a young man and woman - began talking of the future. In the course of this conversation, I learned that a killer had recently arrived in the vicinity had begun terrorizing the locals. The young man - Kell - pushed this wacko off a cliff after a desperate confrontation that ultimately saved more lives than just his own. He's now planning on getting back to life as he knows it,working at an inn, but his female companion is pointing out that people like the deceased killer don't come poking around small communities and asking the unusual  questions he did without someone having sent him. Indeed, going back to life as it had been may not be possible. Someone may come looking for the missing killer and have issue with the youth responsible for disposing of him.

So what happens next? I sure as hell don't know. I just started writing and let the flow take me. Tomorrow I may pick that scene back up or begin an entirely new one. The point is for me to write and get accustomed to doing it again everyday. I'm still turning over numerous ideas in my head for stories, but until one really gels just right, I'll mostly be writing for practice.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Lost Ninja Turtle

Tonight we had pizza for dinner. Suffice it to say, I love pizza. I can eat it all the time. While my favorite topping by far is pepperoni, I can handle almost anything with the exception of pineapple and anchovies...and vegetarian pizzas. Seriously, I'll have a salad if I want veggies.

I cannot even begin to count how many pizza's I've eat over the years (probably somewhere between 1500 and 2000). Twenty years ago, my (ex) fiancee noted that the local pizza place should have had a frequent buyer program because I ordered delivery so much. That itself stemmed from my mother's attitude toward cooking. See, mom had me later in life, at age 43, so by the time I was in my late teens, she was pushing 60 and had pretty much grown tired of cooking meals everyday. She figured thirty years of cooking was enough. It helped that my sisters were gone and I was the only one still at home. My dad worked odd hours and usually prepared his own meals, so mom left it up it up to me to fend for myself much of the time. This led to me ordering a pizza for delivery at least once a week.

25-ish years later, and I still eat pizza at least once a week, often times more than once. This week we've had it twice so far. For the wife and I, the main reason we go that route is because at the end of the day, we're both so wiped out from our jobs that neither of us really want to cook, and since I drive for a living and spend all day behind the wheel, the last thing I want to do at dinner time is go out...so we order pizza.

Cowabunga.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Beware The Blog

So...15 months later...

It's funny how one can make a decision to do something and keep telling themselves to do it, but never get around to doing it. I am a chronic procrastinator and more times than I can recall have put off something for later and then never actually done it. Maybe this time I can actually kick myself in the ass to do the things I want to do...like post in this blog on a regular basis.

I have so many interests and not enough time to devote to them all. Reading? Yes, I have hundreds of books on my to-read-list and I am constantly adding more with frequent trips to the book store. Lately I have begun to realize that many of those books I may never get to. Life is only so long.

B-movie reviewing? Yes. One of my passions is my website, Shadow's B-Movie Graveyard. I love writing up the reviews there, but as fans of that site have noticed, it's been over a year since the last review and even then, they were rather sporadic. I keep watching such films and even began writing my next review, but got sidetracked. I still want to work on that site regularly.

Writing? Another yes. In 2009 I really poured a lot of time and effort into my writing after years and years of talking about it. I managed to sell about three dozen short stories and saw them in print online and in small press books and magazines. Then I abruptly stopped. To this day I still don't understand why. Yes, I got sidetracked by the same thing that curtailed my movie reviews, but I always told myself that it was just a temporary thing. Well, here it is, 2013 and I have done little writing since early 2010.

Of course, I know why some of those things got pushed aside. I got heavily into the wargaming hobby and spent a lot (The Other Half says it was too much) of money on miniatures and paints and other such hobby supplies. Is it fun? Well, I certainly enjoy it and aim to continue, but it never really brought as much satisfaction as my writing, whether it was for the movie site or my own fiction.

So here it is, the beginning of a new year and I thought it would be a great time to get back into the swing of things and return to my writing. It will be slow going at first, as I try to work the kinks out these atrophied writing muscles. Plus, I will need to set and maintain a schedule that allows me time for all my pursuits, but I aim to keep at it this time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Night Fright

Holy Crap, a new post! I know that no one is reading this blog anymore, but I'm gonna try and post more regularly and drum up some traffic. Anyway, there is a new review over at The Graveyard for 1967's Night Fright, a low budget (low, low, low budget) monster flick with a gorilla suit as the monster, far too much day-for-night photography and the late, great John Agar as a small town sheriff. Check it out!

Full Review Here.

 Now, where have I been? Short answer: overloaded at work and distracted with other things. Hopefully I can get back to writing and blogging and yammering on and on about movies, books, wargaming and such things.

Until next time, later dudes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: The Snow Creature

After an absence of nearly seven months, I have returned to the Graveyard to unearth 1954's craptacular yeti film, The Snow Creature. The movie was the first western film centered on the Abominable Snowman, who was quickly gaining in notoriety thanks to plenty of reported sightings during the preceding decade. Boring, plodding and featuring a monster than looks like the cast off from a fourth rate Banana Splits rip-off (google the Banana Splits if you're too young to recall who they were), this movie is no where near mediocre, let alone good or entertaining. This is the type of film you force people to watch on endless loops when you have them tied up in your basement. Not that I have ever done that. nope.

Some of the lessons imparted by this film:

1. A crate of scotch is standard gear on any expedition into the Himalayas.
2. Despite their environment, Yetis are not natural rock climbers.
3. Yetis possess the ninja-like ability to vanish into their surroundings, especially in urban areas.

Go to review.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Scroll Of Anubis Is Here!

Just got my contributor's copy in the mail and was so jazzed, I made this:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Troubled Times

Has it really been three months since I posted here? Sheesh. I knew I was getting busy with other projects, but in the back of my mind I kept meaning to post something. Before you know it, a quarter of a year has gone by! Wow. So here's a quick status update:

Shadow's B-Movie Graveyard - Again, the movie site has taken a back seat to make time for other things. I've been itching to get back to it and I do have a review in progress, I just don't know when I'll get the time to finish it. Probably not until 2011, with all that's going on around here now.

Writing - Alas, I have not written a word in months and months. That hasn't stopped me from jotting down ideas, I just never get around to working on them. If 2009 was the year I proved to myself that I could write and get published, 2010 was the year of self reflection and delayed aspirations. Numerous things have conspired to keep me busy and away from this blog and my online writing friends, but I won't get into the boring details. I'm hoping to get my schedule sorted out soon and get back to regular writing. Maybe 2011 will be the year of kicking oneself in the ass.

However, despite a lack of writing, I have subbed a few stories that were completed last year. Everything has come up rejected with the exception of The Transcendental Man, the time travel story that I originally wrote for the Time in a Bottle antho. They promptly lost it and after a year (and prodding by K.C. Shaw) they finally found it, too late of course to make the cut. I let them keep it for consideration for the second volume, but methinks they lost it again, cuz after 638 days, I have yet to hear a word from them. No matter, I decided to sub the story to Permuted Press' Times of Trouble antho and after months of waiting, I learned today that I made the cut! This is even more gratifying because I subbed the story under my real name and not my JTC horror pen name. And again I will be sharing a TOC with the fast-rising Aaron Polson. I will dog his every step until we both have multi book contracts.;)

So, I have no idea if anyone even checks in here any more, but I just had to stand up and shout out that small bit of "yay me!" I hope everyone is doing well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Words Fail me

So I've been away a lot for the last few weeks. It's the busy season at work, so that has taken up a lot of time, plus all manner of other things here at home. For the last month or so, I've only been getting the chance to catch up on blogs and what not about once every week or two. So imagine my utter shock and disbelief when I logged on earlier only to learn of the passing of Jamie Eyberg. I never met Jamie, but still considered him a friend. He was one of the first to comment on this blog and always had something positive and constructive to say. All my other complaints of the last week seem so trivial now. My first thoughts upon hearing of his passing were of his and Ann's two children. My heart goes out to them. I cannot even imagine how tough it is for them right now. My second thought was of all the stories we won't ever get to read. In truth, I am still trying to process this tragic news and find that I am feeling a great sadness. I'm just gonna go and have a drink in memory of my friend.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Worst. Week. Ever.

Last week sucked.

Monday - 12 hour day. Nothing overly crappy happened. Just a long ass day.

Tuesday - While loading my truck at the Chevron rack, one compartment on my tank truck overfilled. THAT COMPARTMENT WAS EMPTY. It overfilled due to their malfunctioning equipment. Still I was the one who got locked out for a week and has to take a class before I can load there again.

Wednesday - At my first delivery of the day, I got sprayed with diesel. No, I need to amend that. I got SOAKED. I had go the rest of the day with diesel fumes filling my nostrils.

Thursday - I Slipped and fell and hurt my shoulder really, really bad. So bad that I can't raise my arm all the way. At a certain point when lifting, it begins to shake. Torn rotator cuff methinks.

Friday  - Arrived at work to learn that my coworker was in a motorcycle accident and broke his leg.

Overall a truly craptacular week. This week had better go more smoothly.

Now that the bitchfest is over, we now return to the normal sporadically used blog of Jameson T. Caine.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Opening The Vault

So over the holiday weekend I opened up the famed treasure vaults here at Shadow Manor, looking for items to sell on eBay so as to fund my OOP book recovery project. Many a wide-eyed niece and/or nephew has stood slack jawed at the merest glimpse of the vault's contents and no doubt they would have readily agreed to part with their young souls were I to offer them the chance to get their grubby little digits on the items within. Alas, no amount of pleading or flat out wailing on their part will convince me to allow such juvenile persons alone time with such valuables. For the most part, the items I chose are things that I really cannot see myself ever having  use for and/or opening, or they are multiples of things that I already own.  Now I just hope someone buys this crap stuff. Click the photos for the super size versions.

Further exploration of eBay opened up another avenue of possible income: old computer games and books. I was astounded at the amount of older things (going back to the commodore 64) that people were buying and I am literally loaded with such stuff. I was this close to throwing out a lot of those old clue books and things. Who knew some people were willing pay 50 bucks for some of them?

Monday, June 28, 2010

To Sell Or Not To Sell

So after cruising eBay quite a bit lately, I've drawn up a massive list of OOP books I want. Naturally, this great literary recovery project requires funding. I began looking around my house for things to sell. The first thing The Other Half suggested was all the unopened toys I have. Some of you may recall the pictures of my "Man Cave" last year and the toys that could be seen in them. Those were just a small portion of the crap stuff I have. The only problem is, I'm not quite ready to give up that stuff. Likewise with the near mint copies of Dragon magazine I have. I have over a hundred of the early issues and I know some fool geek out there would love to get his greasy hands on them. I really have no use for them, as I have all the issues on CD and can access them much easier that way. Still, I'm not sure if I want to part with them. Maybe I can sell a kidney or something?

For some of you around my age, maybe you recall the old animated show Star Blazers? The Americanized version of the great anime Space Battleship Yamato? If you remember, then feast your eyes on this:



I sooo want a U.S. release for that.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: Megalodon

I’d never heard of this film until I saw the DVD on the shelf at the electronics store. Since it was cheap, I bought it. Sharks both scare and fascinate me, and I’ve read up on them quite a bit over the years. I was already familiar with Megalodons, having read about them in the late 70’s. After teenage years spent at the beach surfing (during which I had my own encounter with a shark), I’ve grown more fascinated with them, so movies like this always interest me. Too bad the film is rather plodding, slow and underdeveloped. I watched it once. Then I watched it three more times for this review. That’s enough for me.

Lessons imparted by this film:

1. The best way to provide oxygen to a person suffering a panic attack, is to crowd around them in a tight circle.
2. Savage storms strong enough to prevent rescue at sea will not produce much in the way of wind or rain.
3. Engaging in tag with an eleven ton Carcharodon Megalodon is not the smartest game to play.
4. Deep sea mining routinely makes use of anti-matter for demolition purposes.

Go to review.

In other news, my writing has once again stalled. Halfway through this year and I've written six or seven thousand words, maybe. Right now, I'm all about the world building; researching various things, using different programs to draw maps of my made-up locales and so forth. This in itself has rekindled another old hobby: Dungeons and Dragons. I have absolutely no one to play the game with and am not about to seek out other gamers via the local game shops, but I find myself looking at all my old D & D books and wishing I had managed to collect all the ones I had wanted. In times past I would have been SOL, but with fabulous things like Ebay, I can find those older books I missed out on 15 and 20 years ago and finally obtain them. Somebody stop me before I max out my credit card!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where's The Beef?

I've quite literally been beefing up lately. The Other Half works for a farm management company and as a result, we are often on the receiving end of lots of free produce - fruit, veggies and nuts (I go bonkers on the pistachios when those come in). Every now and then when some livestock are slaughtered, we get some meat. Well, last week it was the cows turn and we ended up with loads of beef: prime rib, T-bones, ribeyes, porterhouse steaks and several pounds of burger meat. By the end of this month, I'll be sick of it all, but for now I'm in beef heaven.

The 10th anniversary issue of Blood Moon Rising has been posted online, featuring my flash piece, The Customer. Long time readers may recall an even shorter, work in progress version from last year. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Writing has been slow this week, with my shoulder problems keeping me from getting much done. Still, I have managed a few words here and there on an untitled short as well as more fleshing out of the novel I hope to do in November.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Musical Inspiration: Rie Tanaka

The past few days have been the first in some time that I have actually felt like a writer again. For too long now I've been dealing with one family crisis after another or some larger than life project that requires all of my focus. It seems that things may be settling down and I can get back into my earlier (as in 2009) groove. I finally got to the requested re-write from the Times of Trouble antho from Permuted Press. That was sent in and the editor replied favorably to the changes, saying that I had a good chance for the finals. I am really hoping to make the cut on this one for two main reasons: 1) Since my story is Science Fiction, I wrote it under my real name, and 2) PP books actually show up in my local bookstore so it would be entirely possible for me to find a copy and see my name. Here's hoping. After getting to that rewrite, I perused Duotrope and subbed three other stories to various markets, then wrote some tidbits on a new story before jotting down lots of notes for another. All in all, a productive few days.

This week's musical inspiration is the song Ningyohime by Rie Tanaka. The song was one of the themes used for the end credits on the Chobits anime. For those unaware, Chobits was an anime about personal computers shaped like real people...hot young females to be exact (don't ask where the reboot button is). A poor student named Hideki finds a discarded one and eventually wonders if she may one of the fabled Chobits series, a computer that is far more evolved than others. Despite the often playful and (mostly) wholesome nature of the series, there is still an undercurrent of tragedy and loss. Somewhat haunting, this song really conveys a sense of longing and unrequited love. Plus, hot Japanese female singers are a nice counter to all the hot Japanese male singers that Nat posts!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review: Hunchback Of The Morgue

This movie somehow manages to squeeze in a veritable cornucopia of horror story elements, including a mad scientist, a hunchback assistant, a warren of creepy catacombs, a series of murders, a crazy experiment conducted in secret, an inhuman monster, a small town European location and a liberal dose of blood and gore. Despite the gothic undertones inherent in the story and setting, the film takes place in a (then) contemporary 1970’s German town. The narrative takes a while to set things up and get into proper gear, but once it does, things unfold at a lively pace.

Lessons imparted:

1. Drink enough beer and you'll literally drop dead.
2. Robbing graves in a cemetery while it’s still light out and not expecting to be seen while doing so is a rather foolish notion.
3. Repeatedly breaking into and then back out of a women’s prison is an easily accomplished feat.

Go to review.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Already?

Bloody hell. It's June already? Why didn't anyone tell me?! The past month has kept me quite busy. Unfortunately, most of it has been away from the computer and my writing. More health issues in the family, longer hours at work and several projects around the house that could no longer be put off (I'd been procrastinating for years on some of them). Maybe, maybe, MAYBE with the new month some order will descend on the chaos that has been my house. I sure could use some. While not writing very much, I have been sneaking in a few moments here and there for some research or to jot down notes for later use, so I'm going to consider that as keeping on the ball. Yep, that's what I'll do.

For fans of the Graveyard, YES, that new review will be coming soon. I've just been lazy about getting to it with everything else going on.

And yes, I finally changed the name of the blog to reflect the banner above. I've been meaning to do it forever now, but kept forgetting when the first of each month rolled around. Being the stickler for details that I am, I refused to change it at any other time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Scroll of Anubis TOC

Looks like the TOC for the Scroll of Anubis anthology has been finalized:

The Lockwood Collection, By Mary Rajotte
Amunet, By Rhiannon Frater
The Companion of Jacob Bleek, By Jeffery Scott Sims
The Rise of Terefini, By John McCuaig
Let Justice Be Done, By Alva J. Roberts
White Cloud's Return, By Janett L. Grady
Family Under Wraps, By David Bernstein
Styx and Stones, By Malachy Coney
Kiss of Death, By Jessy Marie Roberts
The Jaws of the Jackal, By Patrick Rutigliano
Caves of Gold, By Jim Bernheimer
The Baron and the Cat, By Megan R. Engelhardt
The Legacy of Seshat, By Jameson T. Caine
The Dry Man, By Amanda C. Davis
Amun’s Curse, By Carey Burns
Beneath The Floorboards, By Robert Essig
The Book of Osiris, By Charles Kyffhausen
Balam, By Megan Bamford
Mistress of the Scarab, By Miles Boothe
Egypt, PA, By Wayne Goodchild
The Lurker In The Depths, By Michael C. Lea
The Desecrators, By Paul A. Freeman
Pharaoh’s Best Friend, By Adam Blomquist
The Eternal Resurrection, By, M.S. Gardner
Calixite’s Curse, By Deborah Walker
Abu Timsaah, By Zachary Thomas Tyler
The Pyramids of Rock Lake, By Derek J. Goodman
The Curse of Djer, By T. Patrick Rooney

Yup, I managed to get my comedic take on mummy thieves in there. Gotta love that cover.